Learning on the run
Sunday’s Museums of the Arroyo Day offers visitors an eclectic array of venues
By Carl Kozlowski 05/14/2014
Art lovers and others who simply enjoy using their minds are in for an afternoon of fun Sunday during Museums of the Arroyo Day.
Featuring six top museums in Pasadena and Los Angeles — the Gamble House, Heritage Square, the Los Angeles Police Museum, Lummis Home and Garden, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the Autry’s historic Southwest Museum — the day offers an opportunity to mix and match topics in a way that could provide visitors with a well-rounded education on an eclectic blend of topics.
At the Gamble House, visitors can tour the 1908 classic example of Arts and Crafts architectural design, focusing on the “Out of the Vault Exhibit,” featuring the museum’s newly acquired Henry Green drafting table, while children can create crafts in the backyard.
Heritage Square is offering a fresh twist for the day by creating a Spanish American War encampment with traditional woodcarving demonstrations and featuring storytellers, live music and traditional dancing. Kids can play with Victorian toys, work with crafts and learn about plants and flowers in the Ford House Kitchen garden.
The Police Museum is always an intriguing place to visit, due to its location inside the actual former Highland Park Police Station. On Sunday, visitors will have a chance to experience a real jail cell and snap their own free police booking photos. Kids can also climb aboard a retired police helicopter.
A decidedly different experience can be found at the Lummis Home and Garden, where the historic home of one of LA’s earliest activists and civic boosters, Charles Lummis, is a great example of Arts and Crafts architecture – but the most intriguing sight on Sunday will be a handmade commode Lummis made in the days before mass indoor plumbing.
The Pasadena Museum of History is also located in a famous local home — the Fenyes Mansion along the former “Millionaire’s Row.” Sunday will feature performances by the 3/3rds Band, who sing songs about history and living in the desert with “spiraling, endlessly overlapping harmonies.” There will also be mini-tours of the mansion, spotlighting its recent $1.7 million renovation, and tours of the adjacent Finnish Art Museum.
Finally, at the Southwest Museum visitors can tour two current exhibitions and experience a special display of recordings and archival documents from Charles Lummis’ wax cylinder collection. An impressive outdoor feature is the museum’s community garden, which offers a spectacular view overlooking the Arroyo Seco.
The Museums of the Arroyo Day takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, with free shuttles connecting the museums. For locations and other information, visit museumsofthearroyo.com.